Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman

Your Environment Podcast

Kim Elliman encourages us to get involved with upcoming events in Albany.
monthly Your Environment podcast. Stream and listen to Your Environment
on the Mid-Hudson News website: www.midhudsonnews.com.

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February 6, 2015 –Do you ever hear about something on the news, shake your head, and think, “They should really do something about that”?

Today, I’m going to talk about how to change that “they” to “I.”

Bringing community issues to the attention of New York’s elected officials is one strategy, and an important way of making sure the right topics are being debated in Albany. The Open Space Institute is promoting two such opportunities next month. On March 3, OSI’s Alliance for New York State Parks is teaming up with Parks & Trails New York to sponsor Parks Advocacy Day in the state legislature. After years of advocating for parks, it is exciting that our work is having a real impact. 

With his newest budget proposal, Governor Cuomo continued his unparalleled commitment to revitalizing New York’s magnificent state parks. Thanks to him and a commitment from the legislature, great things are happening at state parks throughout New York, including those right here in the Hudson Valley. From repairs to leaking roofs and swimming pools to improved trails and visitor centers, our state parks are undergoing a transformation unlike anything this state has ever seen. Our message in Albany: keep up the good work – because our parks matter!

And because we all know the value of supportive constituencies, we’ll also be urging approval of a new initiative to support successful local park friends groups, such as those that exist at Olana State Historic Site and Walkway Over the Hudson. As the saying goes, you can never have too many friends!

Which brings us to a second opportunity to raise our voices in Albany.  On March 9, OSI, will once again, be joining with friends and colleagues in New York’s environmental community to support Governor Cuomo’s proposed increase in the Environmental  Protection Fund (EPF). The governor’s budget increases the EPF by $10 million to $172 million; $4 million of that increase is earmarked for Open Space Protection, with $25 million in total set aside for land protection. He also creates a new $50 million farmland protection initiative.The Cuomo spending plan underscores the importance of protecting natural resources and stresses the important role land conservation plays in promoting clean water and air, outdoor recreation, working farms, habitat protection and responding to climate change.

Significant increases in EPF funding are long overdue. We gratefully acknowledge the legislature’s leadership in supporting the EPF, but there is still a long way to go to reach prior funding levels and eventually return the EPF to its rightful place of $300 million, annually. So, if you share our commitment for parks and preserving our state’s precious natural resources, consider joining us on March 3 for Parks Advocacy Day or March 9 for EPF lobby day.

Visit our website at osiny.org to learn more.

Let’s join our voices together so we can be heard: Parks and the Environment Matter!

 


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